The Future According to an Intel Executive
By Fred Batt, Library Administration

I recently attended a portion of Networld+Interop, a convention and exhibition dealing with network infrastructure and services, wireless, security, performance, VolP, data management, etc. I find attending these types of conferences enlightening. Even though some of the panels, speeches and exhibits leave my head spinning, I find it fascinating to hear about the future of information technology (IT) and related fields directly from the key players in the industry. In past conferences I have listened to Michael Dell, Carly Fiorina, Bill Gates and many others.

Below I will briefly touch on some of the highlights of a keynote by Intel’s Executive Vice President, Sean Maloney. Unfortunately I left some of my notes somewhere in Las Vegas (yes, I was sober) so I am reconstructing some of this from memory.

Maloney started his presentation by demonstrating an impressive high speed wireless signal from a variety of Nevada locations. We witnessed clear real-time, on-computer communications from someone 4 miles out in the desert, someone traveling in a car on the Las Vegas strip, someone on a nearby golf course, and even someone on top of the Stratosphere. This was a demo of WiMax (broadband wireless access technology). A good starting point to learn more about this emerging technology is at http://www.wimax.com/.

Maloney discussed the productivity improvements in a mobile era reflecting a dramatic increase in productivity from IT (a500 billion dollar uplift to the US economy). Some feel that this is now in the past. With every cubicle having a PC, e-mail, etc., etc., does IT matter any more? There are recent articles out there that seem to say that it really does not matter at this point. From Maloney’s perspective, this is far from the truth. He sees the future in mobile workers and believes that many in mobile environments are generally unconnected (many already with the ability to become connected). He believes that this will represent the next surge in IT productivity.

Things have come a long way. Many of us walk around with tiny phones containing major microprocessors, e.g., smart phones that will become smarter with the continuous shrinking of microprocessors. The average person is carrying around a supercomputer. Bandwidth is becoming more and more available. We are entering a world of smart connecting devices (and he demonstrated this impact in a financial center, i.e., wireless computerized trading). In this context, he talked about WCDMA and CDMA in a wifi environment. The following website might help clarify definitions of these terms: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/WCDMA.html; http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/C/CDMA.html. Financial trading moved from 3 seconds to 1/3 of a second and reflected a change from about a million contracts to 4 million contracts per day. Quite efficiency! Many in the past believed that wifi was not robust enough for these types of uses. Evidently they were incorrect.

Some of his other demonstrations and comments focused on getting new devices to work effectively with current technologies, e.g., he demonstrated synchronizing objects between a phone and a notebook computer and other similar examples. He also discussed and demonstrated some healthcare applications, e.g., a digital hospital in a wifi environment. It was impressive (but I don’t have my notes about this and the remainder of his presentations). I do recall him mentioning how notebooks was getting better and better with more performance at lower power, longer battery life, improved connectivity as well as thinner and lighter. He mentioned the forthcoming laptop, “ Napa” coming in 2006 which has dual-core chips. I believe the following website elaborates: http://www.pcw.co.uk/news/1160381. He also returned to discussion of WiMax and a plan to cover most if not all of downtown Tokyo with this capability.